Actuate Upgrade Bridges Strategic and Operational Performance Management - InformationWeek

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8/5/2008
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Actuate Upgrade Bridges Strategic and Operational Performance Management

With an interface for every user type and eight extendable BIRT report layouts, Views 8 app is said to go from strategic scorecards down to operational exception reports.

The biggest challenge in many high-level performance management initiatives is translating strategic goals into operational measures that in-line managers can actually do something about. Actuate's Performancesoft Views 8, announced August 4, is said to deliver a single platform that can span strategic and operational initiatives through a variety of user interfaces, including eight new pre-built reports based on the open-source BIRT (Business Intelligence Reporting Tool) framework. "If you want to drive performance management deeper into an organization, you have to be able to serve a diverse user base," says Richard Stark, director of solutions marketing. "Views 8 lets users at all levels bring measures into a preferred interface."

Executives, for example, gravitate toward Views 8 Briefing Books, while analysts, process owners and process participants tend to use Actuate's formatted e.Speadsheets for Excel and its rich, interactive Web pages. The eight new BIRT-based reports are generic layouts that can be extended to a variety of operational areas, be it sales, work force management, supply chain management or other activities.

"Our old reporting technology was inflexible... there were just 18 reports, and they weren't extendable by end users," says Jeff Perkins, chief technology officer. "With Views 8 we supply a suite of standard reports that can live in a user's favorite interface. Using BIRT and e.Spreadsheets, users can extend the base reports with any number of additional metrics."

Other upgrades to Views 8 include 21 reporting Web services and 20 Information Objects said to simplify the task of integrating underlying data in Actuate in-memory cubes. These integration options are another upgrade aimed at helping users at various levels drill down from performance scorecards into operational (non-scorecard) data that offers a more granular view of performance as well as root causes of problems.

"It was possible to do this before with Views, but it required lots of work – manual processes, switching between applications and writing bridge code to other applications," says Perkins. "Views 8 changes that."

Whether companies are starting with Balanced Scorecards aimed at high-level strategic performance or with operational scorecards monitoring call centers, risk, IT or other operational areas, Views 8 is "a single platform that can be deployed across every business process rather than being a niche application," explains Stark. "Even if you participate in multiple business processes, you won't have to learn multiple interfaces."

Views 8 is expected to ship in September. Pricing was not disclosed.

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